The Kaneohe Sand Bar paddle is a must-see natural phenomena on the windward side of Oahu where visitors discover the magic of an island that only comes with the tides.
Sometimes referred to as the “disappearing island,” the Kaneohe sand bar is ideal for kayaks, paddle boards, or outrigger canoes that want to spend the day marveling in the mystical island of the tides.
This paddle is fairly easy with chances to see the Hawaiian green sea turtle (Honu) who regularly come into Kaneohe Bay.
|Best time:||Low winds & Summer|
The best place to put in for this paddle is at the He’eia Kea Harbor in Kaneohe. It’s located on the windward side of Oahu on the coastal highway called Kamehameha Hwy.
Whether you’re coming from the North Shore, South Shore, or from Town (Honolulu) just follow signs for Kamehameha Hwy & keep your eyes open for a the boat harbor. The harbor is only about a 35 minute drive from Waikiki and Honolulu!
Parking at the harbor is free, but it fills incredibly fast since most boats go out in the early morning. Be prepared to wait a little while to find a spot there if you come later in the day.
Since the parking is at a boat harbor where people are regularly gone for several hours, I recommend making sure that all valuables are tucked away in your car so people can’t see them.
There are bathrooms at He’eia Kea Harbor. But, there are of course no bathrooms out at the sandbar or anywhere else.
There is also no showers or other places to rinse your gear.
- Cooler filled with lots of water (It gets hot!)
- Waterproof speaker
- Dry Bag
- Waterproof Camera
- Anchor (For keeping your vessel from floating away)
- Beach Chair
Cautions & Hazards
The most dangerous thing on this paddle is the wind. There are regular on-shore trade winds which means it will be much more difficult getting out to the sand bar with getting back being a breeze.
The winds can change very, very fast and you don’t want to get blown far away.
MAKE SURE TO CHECK WIND CONDITIONS BEFORE GOING OUT & REGULARLY WHEN YOU ARE OUT THERE!
If leaving the harbor at low tide, be vigilant of the shallow coral reef that surrounds the harbor. A person can easily get stuck leaving the harbor if they aren’t careful.
Personally, I don’t think you should every be untethered from your vessel while out at the sandbar, but if you do, I recommend anchoring your vessel.
The tides changes fast & strong out at the sand bar. It can easily pull your board or kayak far away from you.
There are probably going to be numerous other boats & vessels going out and hanging out at the sand bar. Be aware that a lot of the people on these vessels will be drinking.
The wind regularly sweeps the Portuguese Man-Of-War into these waters. Though not quite a jellyfish, you can think of them as such since they do have a nasty sting. If you get stung by one of these guys, rinse it in warm water and do not use white vinegar or urine!
Kaneohe Bay is relatively well protected from swells. However, make sure to check the wind & swell conditions below to make sure you have a happy trip out to the sand bar.